Charlottesville City Council Approves Trail Plan for Ragged Mountain Area

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Charlottesville City Council approved a new trail use plan 3-2 to allow bikes in the Ragged Mountain Natural Area.

The city owns the land that is physically located in the county, so there is a fight over who should make the laws that govern the land. The county did not want to allow bikes.

“There's a legal dispute, we're having a back and forth with them about how can-- we favor finding a legal resolution of the question of the sort of dueling ordinances that has come up,” said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer.

Signer went on to say that he feels those legal conversations would be a quote "parallel" conversation, and wouldn't influence his vote Monday night. The county has previously said it would sue the city if it moved forward with this ordinance.

Council is also moving forward with the existing property tax rate, abandoning earlier proposals to reduce it.

A lot of people called for council to lower the tax rate after property assessment values skyrocketed this year, which meant higher tax bills for some.

Mayor Mike Signer was the first person to propose lowering the tax rate to 93 cents per $100 of assessed value down from 95 cents. On Monday he joined the other councilors in a unanimous preliminary vote to move forward.

Only three citizens spoke at the public hearing on the budget appropriation and tax levy the first on the black youth achievement staff position, and the second on environmental issues.

But the third specifically focused on the impact increased assessments has on the business community of Charlottesville.

“A lot of the small businesses are suffering terribly with these rise in assessments, and i think something should be done about it,” said Paul Long, a Charlottesville resident.

Councilor Kathy Galvin responded by saying that the city had been under-assessing properties for many years, and while this was a shock for one year, it was more sustainable in the long run.

Council also decided not to hold its last budget work session that would have been this Thursday because its work was mostly done, and they will approve the final budget on April 11.

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